‘Centre will not interfere in Singur, till asked’

September 3rd, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Even as protests over Tata Motors Nano factory in Singur in West Bengal continued Wednesday, the central government once again ruled out any suo moto intervention, saying “it is none of our business”.“It is none of our business to intervene,” Heavy Industries Minister Sontosh Mohan Dev told reporters here on the margins of the annual convention of the Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association (ACMA) here.

“If they come to us, we will. But that the state government has to decide,” said the minister, adding the parties concerned must come to the negotiating table and resolve the matters amicably.

Emerging from a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had made a similar statement on the central government’s role in resolving the Singur impasse.

“There is no role for the central government. This is for the state government to decide,” Sibal said, even as Congress party’s West Bengal unit chief Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi wanted the state’s pact with Tata Motors to be made public.

Trouble began in Singur after the state government acquired 997 acres of land for the Tata Motors project to manufacture the world’s cheapest car Nano, as also for the ancillary units.

A section of farmers - said to be the owners of around 400 acres of the acquired land - had refused to part with the same. The state’s main opposition, Trinamool Congress, had since taken up their cause, disrupting work at the site.

Tuesday saw Tata Motors make a statement that they were looking at alternative sites for the project outside the Communist-ruled West Bengal, although Rs.15 billion ($375 million) had already been invested for the same.

Several other states in India and even the government in neighbouring Sri Lanka have offered to host the car factory because of its international prestige and the reputation that the country’s largest private sector group enjoys.

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